Saturday, September 14, 2002

Saturday September 14, 2002

Filed under: General — m759 @ 3:03 AM

God Is Her Co-Pilot

On the soundtrack album of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,"  Clint Eastwood advised us to "eliminate the negative."  As a sequel to the extremely negative note below, written at midnight on the night of September 13-14, 2002, the following is my best attempt, on this very dark night of the soul, to eliminate the negative.  

Some of us are old enough to recall that the beloved Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, died on September 14, 1982 — exactly 20 years ago —  from injuries she suffered in a car accident the day before.  The following photo recalls happier days of driving the Riviera, in the 1955 film "To Catch a Thief."

This note's title, combined with the photo, suggests that I have a mystical vision of Cary Grant as God.  I can think of worse people to play God.  The best I can do tonight to eliminate the negative is transcribe  the remarks I made in a (paper) journal entry in 1997.  (By the way, I realize that ordinary people are just as important as movie stars, but the latter are more suitable for public discussion.)

In memoriam: Robert Mitchum and James Stewart 

Eternal Triangles (July 3, 1997)

Every civilization tells its own story about the relations between heaven and earth.  Some of the best stories — those of Lao Tsu, the Greek poets, and Buddha — are now almost 26 centuries old.  Some even older stories — those told by the Jews — have enabled our current civilization, led by Charlton Heston as God, to outlast Hitler, Stalin, and Mao.  However, recent claims of Absolute Truth for these stories (The Bible Code) are disturbing.  Perhaps it is time — at least for Robert Mitchum and James Stewart — to meet a kinder, gentler God.

I propose Cary Grant — specifically, as seen in "The Grass is Greener" (1960) with Mitchum and Deborah Kerr, and in "The Philadelphia Story" (1940) with Stewart and Katharine Hepburn.  If we imagine Grant as God, then these films reveal a very old, always entertaining, and sometimes enlightening version of the Trinity:  God and Man as rivals for the Holy Spirit — as played by Deborah, by Kate, and (in heaven) by Grace.  Such a spirit, at work in the real world, may have influenced two of this century's better Bibles:

  1. The Oxford Book of English Prose (1925, reprinted through 1958), and

  2. "LIFE — The 60th Anniversary Issue" (October 1996)

From (1), for Mitchum's memorial, Deborah might pick "The Basket of Roses" (pp. 1057-1060).  From (2), for Stewart's memorial, Kate might select the page of LIFE's covers for 1941 — and all that page implies.

Finally, Grace, in the Highest society (beyond Bibles) might recall the following telegraphic catechism:

Q. — How old Cary Grant?
A. — Old Cary Grant fine.  How you?

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